Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation set policy priorities for the year this week during its annual convention in Austin, Texas. AFBF Vice President Scott VanderWal says member-delegates voted to support creation of a farmer and industry led milk management system, which follows a year-long process studying the issue.
VanderWal: After that process, the delegates voted to support creation of a flexible farmer and industry led milk management system. This all comes out of the fact that dairy farmers have really been struggling and we’re looking for better ways to reform not only milk marketing orders, but to create more efficiencies in the milk system.
Clements: AFBF delegates also updated labor policy, seeking changes to the H-2A program.
VanderWal: The updates address problems with Adverse Effect Wage Rate and also emphasize the importance of year-round program access. Right now, H-2A is not available for year-round workers, and we desperately need a legal, stable way to source workers for year-round jobs.
Clements: Other policy changes include conservation compliance, hemp regulations and support of science-based climate change research. VanderWal says the policy session this week sets the path for Farm Bureau in 2020.
VanderWal: It all comes together because our delegates are looking ahead at issues and opportunities facing farmers and ranchers in rural communities. These policies basically give us as leaders of the organization our marching orders for the year, so we can continue to provide safe and healthy food, fiber and renewable fuel for our nation and the world. And that all depends upon the economic health and stability of our domestic agriculture industry in the United States.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Austin, Texas.